We’ve recently been involved in helping to write part of a new book on whisky. A bit exciting to be asked to join the company of more noted writers in the field than ourselves, and somewhat of a challenge to complete these things to deadlines and not just at our own behest (ahem…looks around guiltily).
So off the back of that request, I’ve been having a good look around a few distilleries of late. Some familiar, and others a new experience for me. The thing with distillery tours, is that once you’ve been ’round a couple and got the gist of the process, barring the few idiosyncrasies that their individual kit provides, it’s essentially the same wherever you go (others may disagree, but I’ll admit, I’m generalising here), so all that ever leaves an impression are the stories that you hear from the personalities that you meet.
If you’re very lucky, you’ll get the odd glimmer of insider knowledge – nothing that’s usually fit for printing – but usually something that gives you that little bit of insight into an industry that is at times secretive and opaque. But business is business, right? Perhaps that’s to be expected then.
So, not for the first time, I arranged to meet Ronnie Routledge, now at Glenglassaugh Distillery, for a quick chat about the various drams I’d be covering for this upcoming book, and also to get a bit of background.
Glenglassaugh’s a little bit special for me, as I used to live at the cottages just across the road from it. I’d whiz past it on my bike on many a journey between Portsoy and Cullen.
Ronnie very kindly took time out of his busy day (it was slap bang in the middle of Spirit Of Speyside Festival when I met with him) and gave me a whirlwind tour of the place, and eventually we ended up on the roof. Doing a full 180 degree turn, you can take in the blue-glass sea at neighbouring Sandend, that ‘Glassaugh itself overlooks, and then the blazing gorse that surrounds the water source as you towards the direction of the Durn Hill.
It’s a very special place to me.
Before I left, Ronnie very kindly talked me through a few of the future releases that Glenglassaugh have prepared, and due to my tardiness in getting ’round to writing about this, it seems that one of them is actually upon us already.
It’s a bottling chosen by Ronnie himself, and it’s from a 35 year old vintage sherry butt, filled in 1976. Only 654 bottles and bottled at a natural strength of 49.6%. It’s out now.
I’m rooting for Glenglassaugh, and I’ll admit I’m biased, but luckily they’re making great whisky, and the stock they inherited is pretty special too. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on more of it in the coming years.